Community College System Foundations and Development Functions

Topics: Community College, Fundraising, Advancement

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Community college systems increasingly implement system-level fundraising initiatives to solicit funds from donors without preexisting relationships with individual colleges and who seek to make a statewide impact. System-level development staff members may need to secure buy-in from leaders of colleges that already maintain their own development function as they fear the additional competition in securing gifts. This brief profiles the fundraising operation strategies of seven community college systems.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Systems establish foundations and development functions to solicit gifts from donors without a preexisting connection to individual community colleges.

    2. Most profiled systems employ a foundation executive director and one to three other staff members.

    3. System stakeholders collaboratively establish fundraising goals for system development initiatives and determine allocation of unrestricted funds.

    4. Meetings for college development staff facilitate fundraising goal discussion, prospect information-sharing, and professional development trainings.

    5. State system offices typically employ most foundation staff members, but foundations help defray their operating expenses.

    6. The total assets of most profiled system foundations range from $1.6 million to $22 million.

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